Hoteis de Charme em Languedoc-Roussillon, França
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With its 27,500 km2 and 2.3 million permanent inhabitants, Languedoc–Rousillon is situated in the extreme south of France and bordered by the Pyrenees, Andorra and Spain from below – and Provence and the Midi-Pyrenees as far north as the Auvergne. It has a long Mediterranean coastline of sandy beaches stretching 180 km from the Spanish border to the Camargue.
Languedoc encompasses the largest wine producing area of Europe and is noted for its relaxed pace of life.
Montpellier, the (arguably) regional capital, is a fine university city with many 17th and 18th century houses, wide boulevards, parks and gardens – the Jardin des Plantes was the first botanical garden in France, built in 1593.
Sète is the largest Mediterranean fishing port on the coast of France and has many excellent seafood restaurants – in July and August there are water jousting festivals.
Narbonne, founded by the Romans, is a busy centre for the wine trade with good shopping. The Cathedral of St-Just rivals those of northern France and has some beautiful tapestries; close to town, situated in a wild valley, is the Benedictine abbey of Fontfroide with its 13th century church and rose garden. Béziers prospered in the 17th century when the Canal du Midi, which connects the Mediterranean with the Atlantic, was built; the Museum of Fine Art has works by many Flemish and German masters, including Holbein – the Roman Arena is used for bullfights in August.
Perpignan, once the capital of the kingdom of Majorca, has managed to preserve its Spanish heritage, which is reflected in the architecture and ambience of the town.
A little further along the coast are Collioure and Céret, which at the turn of the century were simple villages and the unique light there attracted many painters: Matisse, Derain, Dufy, Picasso, Chagall. Picasso was particularly fond of Céret and it claims to be the birthplace of Cubism.
Collioure was a source of inspiration and is represented in many Impressionist paintings. This corner of the region, although called Roussillon, is, after centuries of struggle for possession between France and Spain, essentially and proudly Catalan – the language widely spoken and the red and yellow Catalan flag is flying everywhere.
Gastronomy The earthy, independent character of the people of Languedoc-Roussillon, is reflected in the robust and unpretentious dishes of the region. Strong Mediterranean flavours with a generous use of herbs, garlic and olive oil.
Lamb, grazed on wild thyme in the uplands, barbecued over a vine wood fire. Rich game or beef stews cooked slowly for many hours and “cassoulet”, the most famous of regional dishes.
The coast boasts excellent seafood - the mountains, charcuterie, hams, pâtés.
Wild mushrooms, oranges and chestnuts are used in many dishes, as are fresh vegetables, grown here in abundance. Roquefort, considered by many to be the king of cheeses, is made at Roquefort-sur-Soulzon from ewe's milk, then laid in the Cambalou caves to mature naturally. Delicious fruit tarts and freshly made ice-cream and from Roussillon; little honey and almond cakes and panalets, marzipan sweets with nuts. The wines of Languedoc-Roussillon are growing in reputation and are well worth exploring.
History Greek navigators plied the coast of Languedoc-Roussillon in ancient times and set up trading posts, such as Agde. In 600 BC, they introduced grapevines to Roussillon. In 121 BC, the Romans invaded the region: they built the Via Domitia, a passage from Italy to Spain, and founded Narbonne. Béziers and Nîmes became cities under Roman rule and Roman buildings such as the Maison Carrée, the Arènes and the Tour Magne, as well as Aigues-Mortes’ fortifications still grace these cities’ skylines. The greatest architectural achievement of the Roman era, however, is the 35-mile long aqueduct that carried water from the region’s uplands down to Nîmes – it took the Romans 15 years to complete it.
The Middle Ages gave way to a long period of instability. At the end of the 12th century, a breakaway religious sect, the Cathars, spread their doctrine throughout the southern part of the region, in defiance of Roman Catholic ideology. Several popes and French noblemen led a 20-year war against the Cathar heretics, rallying forces into holy crusades and capturing Cathar fortresses that can still be seen in Roussillon today. In the 13th century, Montpellier and Perpignan prospered under the rule of the Kings of Majorca, who later sold the two cities and the Roussillon to the French crown. In the 17th and 18th century, there dawned a new era of peace: towns were enlarged and adorned with dazzling architecture and, thanks mainly to the development of the wine industry, large farms were built, along with stately country residences and seaside villas.
Culture The restored mediaeval city of Carcassonne in the Aude, is an astonishing legacy of the bloody and rebellious history of Languedoc and the countryside is marked with hilltop fortresses and ancient towns and villages that bear witness to the Crusade to crush the Cathar heresy. The landscape here is distinctly Mediterranean; wild, rocky hills and hot, stony plains, dominated by the vines of the Minervois and Corbières. The Black Mountains of Haut-Languedoc and the vast National Park of the Cévennes, the limestone gorges of the Tarn and the mountains and lakes of Lozère, are a striking contrast to the coastal plains. Much of this area is a protected, unspoilt wilderness of great beauty, where rural life and traditions have remained unchanged.
Activities Good beaches and resorts along the coast, offering a variety of water sports. Many golf courses throughout the region – some of competition standard – accessible to all levels and inexpensive. Numerous health spas that offer treatments for a variety of ailments – or simply the opportunity to relax and get into shape. There are vast nature reserves that are the habitat for a huge variety of flora and fauna and ideal for hiking, trekking, cycling and riding. Good fishing in the rivers and lakes – they are well sign-posted and there are easily available topographical maps.
During the summer in the Pyrenees there is mountain climbing, accompanied by experienced guides, mountain biking, or walking. In the winter there are good cross-country ski routes and excellent skiing. Serious walkers can follow the ancient pilgrim pathways to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, that takes you across the region. Markets and country bric-a-brac markets in towns and villages on different days and from early spring until late autumn; there are numerous festivals, fetes, classical, jazz and folk concerts. Children are welcomed and included in all activities everywhere.
Hotel Boutique e Romântico em Languedoc-Roussillon
- Baudon de Mauny
- Couvent d'Hérépian
- Demeure Monte-Arena
- Domaine de Marsault
- Hotel du Chateau
- Hotel Les Templiers
- Hotel Troiz
- Jardins Secrets
- La Borie de L'Aubrac
- Le Grand Hotel Sète
- Le Saint André
- Le Saint Laurent
- Le Trésor
- Les Sardines aux Yeux Bleus
- Maison d'hôte La Galerie
- Maison Felisa
- Relais des Trois Mas
- Relais Royal
Hotel e Pousada Bonita em Languedoc-Roussillon
- Aigaliers Hoteis
- Aigues-Mortes Hoteis
- Autignac Hoteis
- Baron Hoteis
- Blauzac Hoteis
- Carcassonne Hoteis
- Castelnau le Lez Hoteis
- Collioure Hoteis
- Conques Sur Orbiel Hoteis
- Fitou Hoteis
- Hérépian Hoteis
- Leucate Village Hoteis
- Lozère Hoteis
- Marseillan Hoteis
- Mirepoix Hoteis
- Montpellier Hoteis
- Nîmes Hoteis
- Pézenas Hoteis
- Rieux-Minervois Hoteis
- Saint Laurent de la Cabrerisse Hoteis
- Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres Hoteis
- Sète Hoteis
- Sonnac-sur-l'Hers Hoteis
- Uzès Hoteis
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